The anti-sex trafficking campaign aims to build awareness and help prevent one of Canada’s most lucrative crimes ahead of Ontario’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day
TORONTO—Feb. 18, 2020—Covenant House today launched a new campaign called Shoppable Girls (www.shoppablegirls.com) with a goal to raise awareness and start a dialogue about sex trafficking ahead of Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Feb. 22. The hope is Ontarians will be encouraged to educate themselves on the issue and ultimately be equipped to help prevent sex trafficking.
Just like sex trafficking, which can often go unnoticed if you don’t know what to look for, the Shoppable Girls campaign shows that the victims aren’t always immediately identifiable as the signs are often misunderstood. Shoppable Girls strives to reach young people in a way that catches their eye and encourages them to dig deeper. In reaching the campaign website, they will learn about sex trafficking myths and warning signs so they can protect themselves and look out for their friends. Parents and caregivers are also a key audience for the campaign as they play a critical role in helping to keep their children safe through education and dialogue.
“One of the major misconceptions is sex trafficking doesn’t happen in Canada when in fact 93 per cent of sex trafficking victims are Canadian citizens,” said Julie Neubauer, program manager of anti-trafficking services at Covenant House. “No one chooses to be trafficked. And the truth is that it's happening in our communities, to our children and often right in front of us. Yet many times the signs go unnoticed by those in the best position to help.”
Victims of sex trafficking are often recruited by someone they know through luring and grooming tactics that escalate over time. Being able to identify the signs of luring and grooming is vital as the more that young people and their parents or caregivers know about sex trafficking, the better equipped they are to protect themselves.
According to the Toronto Police Services, sex trafficking is a billion-dollar industry in Canada and is considered a highly lucrative commodity amongst criminal organizations.
“We see an unfortunately high number of cases where a young child’s vulnerable state was exploited and in many cases, they were approached through social media platforms. This is a domestic problem and our victims come from all walks of life and from neighbourhoods that represent all segments of the city,” said David Correa, Detective Sergeant with the Toronto Police Services’ Human Trafficking Enforcement Team. “It’s crucial that we all work together in identifying cases early as we are seeing victims as young as 13.”
Covenant House is a national leader in providing direct support to survivors of sex trafficking. Their comprehensive anti-trafficking plan includes prevention, front line services and knowledge sharing. They have supported over 200 survivors in their healing journey since launching this plan in 2016.
Canadians are also encouraged to lend their voice against sex trafficking on social by using #ShoppableGirls. For more information on how to start the conversation around sex trafficking, visit TraffickStop.ca.
For individuals who may be a victim of sex trafficking or know someone who is, the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is a confidential hotline available 24-7 at 1-833-900-1010.
Covenant House Toronto is grateful for the many partners including TAXI, Media Experts, Weber Shandwick Canada and CISION who supported in making the Shoppable Girls campaign happen. Together we are proud to lend a voice to help end sex trafficking in Canada.
About Covenant House Toronto
Covenant House helps youth ignite their potential and reclaim their lives. As Canada’s largest agency serving youth who are homeless, trafficked or at risk, they offer the widest range of 24-7 services to about 350 young people each day. As a national leader, they educate and advocate for long-term change to improve the lives of vulnerable youth. More than a place to stay, they provide life-changing care with unconditional love and respect. They meet youth’s immediate needs and then they work together to achieve their future goals. They offer housing options, health and well-being support, training and skill development, and ongoing care once youth move into the community.
For more information contact:
Associate Director of Communications
Covenant House Toronto
For quick facts and a backgrounder, click here.